I guess there’s a new Star Wars movie coming out? Did you hear about this? I am not a big Star Wars fan, but I like the movies well enough. I think there are quite a few things everyone needs to see and read, and the first Star Wars movie is one of them. And not because I’m a ‘geek dad’. Not necessarily a label I like (I’ll get to that in a moment) but seeing Star Wars, or The Wizard of Oz, or reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, listening to R.E.M.’s ‘Automatic for the People’ or ‘Little Earthquakes’ by Tori Amos, playing the original Super Mario Bros. and dipping french fries in ranch dressing are some things everyone needs to experience. As a dad I try to show Sophie everything that is out there and let her decide what she is into. From the start I introduced her to Superman and Alice in Wonderland to The Little Mermaid to Legos and everything else. I’m not big into stuff that is “for boys” or “for girls”, I just let her figure out what she’s drawn to. In her room she has dragon figurines, Barbies, Pokemon toys, a million stuffed animals and a drawing desk. You know, stuff a kid would have. As the song says “everything she owns I bought her”.
I think I’m doing an okay job, Sophie loves drawing and building and creating and exploring. There’s not much she’s into “because she’s a girl”, you know? Early on she was into glitter and unicorn and a lot of people thought that she was into that “because she’s a girl” but come on, what kid doesn’t like shiny things and mythical creatures?
Anyway, a couple weeks ago she asked a question about Star Wars and I asked her if she wanted to watch the movie. She shrugged which is her way of saying “yes, I think so but I don’t want to say yes yet”. We ended up watching it a few days later. I explained some stuff along the way and brought her up to speed what Princess Leia was doing and what the droids were up to. She watched the first half hour or so and then decided to draw. Yep, she’s my daughter. We kept the movie on while she drew a few characters and decided to be Princess Leia for Halloween. It was a fun night and I think she liked the movie well enough, but she was more drawn (ha ha) to the characters.
The next day at work I was meeting with someone who pointed out the Superman Lego figure on my computer. I keep little things at work to remind me of life on the outside and to help me remember the other things in my world besides paperwork and budgets. I have dozens of pictures of the kids, little toys and some of my artwork scattered around. Just as I am not super big on talking about work outside of work, I am likewise not super big talking about my personal life at work. I remember trying to change the subject by saying “yeah, I like Superman, I’m a big geek, but let’s get back to…” whatever we were doing. I later posted the above drawing Sophie did online and a few friends commented that I’m such a geek dad and that Sophie will grow up to be a geek. Nothing malicious was intended at all, and I agree with them, but these two instances got me thinking why we as comic fans, cartoonists, movie goers and science fiction readers always qualify everything we like as being geeky or nerdy?
Why do I say that I’m a comic nerd? Why can’t I just say that I read comic books? Why does Sophie have to be a Star Wars geek? Can’t she just like Star Wars? I’m not big into labels or words that can quickly define who someone is anymore than I introduce things to Sophie that is “for girls” and steer her from things that are “for boys”. I read comics and poetry, I watch cartoons and documentaries. Labeling someone as a geek can really limit what people are really like. I don’t really like the word anymore. I used to wear it as a badge of honor and embracing it after years of high school and being ridiculed because of what I’m into.
Sorry about the…well, it’s really a rant, just something I’ve been thinking about. Tune in next week for a chat about hipsters.